If you are one of the 46% of small business owners who still don’t have a website, you need to get with the program! Or, if you are part of the 36% of mom-and-pop businesses who still don’t use the potential of the internet to jump-start your operation, it’s time to up your game.
Now listen here, Grandpa.
You can’t just go back to the old ways of doing things. Yeah, I know. You love word-of-mouth, and it has been your primary marketing channel since 1936.
But these are new times.
And new times demand new ways of looking at the world.
How can we entice you to make the jump to hyper-space?
Digital marketing is kind of like a cyber form of Viagra.
By reinvigorating your tired old company with it, your business will be better juiced than you were when you bought those sketchy sex pills off the dusty old pegboard behind the counter at Big Ed’s Gas Farm.
So… what are you waiting for?
Are you afraid of technology?
Do you think it will cost TOO MUCH to purchase a website?
Some of you old fogeys may be scared by the term “digital marketing.” And, many of you do not understand that digital marketing is not focused solely on the simple act of selling. Digital marketing is merely a set of targeted strategies.
You wield these tools of technology in order to get right at the heart of what the customer wants. It transplants the selling techniques of old to the digital sphere.
And here is where they can be used more powerfully to build relationships with your customers. Internet advertising isn’t only about technology – it’s about people connecting with people.
Sure – you want to make a SALE.
But you also need to figure out what makes your customer tick.Advertising in the digital age is Mad Men meets The Jetsons…the perfect mashup of an old-fashioned sales pitch, and using just the right technological platform to make that message sing.
Traditional marketing is dead, anyway.
In this brave new world, all marketing is digital marketing.
Don’t be a holdout – why don’t you embrace this brave new world with every fiber of your being? It will utterly transform your company and you, if you succumb to its wiles.
Here are 5 ways digital marketing matters for small businesses:
1.It is a whole new world of marketing channels that offer your goods and services to the world in creatively exciting ways.
Maintaining a digital presence simply offers your potential buyers another way to buy what it is you’re selling. But, it’s not just ANY old path. It’s a superhighway that will connect you with your customers in ways you never conceived of before.
The traditional channels – print, television, and radio – still exist (though with decreasing relevance.) You want your wares available to customers in as many ways as possible.
Digital marketing also gives your customers a chance to opt out.
You can’t do the same thing with traditional marketing.
Your audience will be besieged with that flyer on real estate opportunities in Eastern Timbuktu even if they have zero interest. Going digital is also cheaper than traditional forms of advertising by far.
Sending out brochures or direct mail pieces is EXPENSIVE!
You can do the same thing online for a lot less money.
Also, digital marketing affords you the possibility of interacting with your audience.
You can directly message them on your Facebook page, and they will respond.
Who knows – maybe one of your posts will be so compelling it will go viral, and you will be the next internet superstar!
2. You need to be discoverable by the search spiders if you want your customers to see you.
Remember that 75% of all of your customers use Google to do research before purchasing anything. Therefore, it behooves you to put compelling information on your website for your customers to make informed buying decisions.
And, you have to optimize for the search engines.
Without carefully cultivated SEO, you will have zero visibility in the online world, and at that point, you can kiss your carefully built-up business goodbye.
Exhaustively research KEYWORDS, and then choose the ones that are performing well.
You can use a tool like Google Analytics for this.
When it comes to keywords, quality is better than quantity. Once you have this list, strategically and organically embed these words into your content and your code.
Keep monitoring performance and adjust as necessary.
However, don’t cram your keywords in an unnatural way, because this crap will get ya PENALIZED by the Google gods.
Link building is also highly effective for SEO. One really good way to build links is by creating high-quality content that others are compelled to share.
Another is to be be a guest blogger on sites that have generated a crazy amount of traffic. Although sometimes this is easier said than done, you can get invites if your ability to write TOP CONTENT is second to none. Remember – publishing is a privilege and not a right.
This means, whatever content you write has to be really entertaining, super-actionable, and extremely relevant. It also had to be amazingly original.
How do you produce content that checks off all these boxes?
For starters, muster up a litter passion for your subject matter.
And try to see your subject in a way nobody on the planet has every thought of. Write a lot too. Writing is a craft – a calling and a MISSION. As such, you shouldn’t be merely going through the motions.
One thing I like to do is writing WITHOUT stopping.
I give myself a set amount of time – 10 or 25 or 340 minutes, and then write without taking a break.
Keep pushing that pen across the page.
This method completely bypasses the inner critic, and generates incredibly fertile creative material. ALSO…write unceasingly. This means devoting lots of time to practice your art.
DO THIS, and you and all the extremely desirable goodies you’re selling will have a zillion times more opportunities to be seen by potential buyers.
They will finally be able to buy that height-adjustable golf chipping net they’ve dreamed of since they were 10!
3. Digital marketing is all about the art of curating relationships with your customers.
It is not an excuse to be aloof from other human beings, but it is all about connection if used in the right manner. You can build a professional network online that rivals traditional networks built the old-fashioned way. And, savvy entrepreneurs use the awesome power of social media to leverage their networks in a way that is truly staggering.
If you don’t use the power of digital marketing to build relationships with your customers, it’s about time you did, because you need to entice your customers to walk into your new and exciting digital storefront.
THIS LEADS US TO:
4. Use the power of your brand to whip up your customers into a buying frenzy.
You should always find the most creative ways to create customer engagement that will make your customers insanely crazy for what you have to offer.
Find the bait, that when thrown into the water, will infect the sharks with a rapacious BLOODLUST. (The sharks being your customers (of course.)
There is real opportunity in the new digital landscape to hone what your identity is, because you can use social media and other tools to develop a unique voice. So, get out there, and use all the technological tools at your disposal to get really creative and define exactly who you are.
List every possibility you can think of to create a brand identity that communicates uniqueness and personality, and then…
…list a 100 more.
You, my friend, have so many wonderful things to offer your customers. So many ways to make his life easier. So, this part should be easy.
But ALWAYS remember:
Companies that are bland do not exactly inspire rabid devotion. Your online presence must boldly stand out in a sea of copycats and say things that have never been said before. All done in your own inimitable way.
And make sure that social media is part of your brand strategy.
Market the hell out of yourself, but not in an annoying way.
Find that charisma you’ve been hiding all these years. Nothing like having a passion for a product for unleashing your inner charm. And you better have some stamina, because these days, the customer journey no longer ends at the point of purchase.
No, siree…in the new era of digital media, this is only the beginning. No longer are consumers only consumers. They are morphing into “prosumers” by using the power of online information to become tireless advocates for themselves.
This is why marketing must become increasingly customer-centric.
And this, my friends, is what the long-promised Web 2.0 is all about. Creating communities of brand enthusiasts all over the globe who connect with each other over a shared love for a kick-ass product; or to commiserate with each other over a service that sucks.
This kind of CONNECTION is helping to fulfill the potential the internet always had. Customers nowadays love to create content based on their experiences with the product. They keep interacting with the product online.
Even VILIFYING it.
Because you may think your brand identity is valuable, but if your overall value proposition doesn’t stack up, customers will walk away. And, they will let you know exactly why. Digital marketing has empowered and energized consumers in an almost unbelievable way.
Expect to see more crazy-ass communities of pumped- up brand enthusiasts in the coming years. All of this can create an intensity of passion and energy for your business – even if you are a small business owner.
This is an exciting and amazing time to live. You can channel this insanely rabid devotion your customers have for you and create a cult following for yourself!
5. You can get amazing feedback as to how your marketing efforts are doing.
Web analytics can be used to glean important insights about your customers’ buying behavior. Human beings are exceedingly complicated creatures, and there is no easy way to fully understand their psyches.
However, digital marketing attempts to do just that, and does a damn fine job, too. And by doing this, technology has given us powerful new tools to discover what customers want. This is information you simply cannot get from traditional marketing channels – at least not the incredible detail and depth that the digital landscape affords.
Just remember, a savvy digital marketer will not overuse analytics.
In your obsession with data, you might forget that your customer is a real living and breathing HUMAN BEING. You’ll start to believe he’s just a set of data points, or a only a mechanized conversion machine without a soul. To forget that your business exists primarily to serve the very human needs of your customers is a very dangerous thing indeed.
So, in conclusion, if you own a small business, and you haven’t jumped on the digital marketing bandwagon, you don’t know what you’re missing.
There are so many awesome tools and strategies at your disposal.
Why not use them to elevate your small business to the next level?
Love love love the “Pulse” article. Genius putting it in the form of a letter!